Let’s be honest, for those of us that have watched Call the Midwife or One Born Every Minute, giving birth can seem like a daunting experience. Even from a young age, we hear of the horrors of childbirth, whether that’s from friends and family or from the media. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that many women feel stress and fear on the leadup and during childbirth. It’s this tension that stops expectant mothers from being able to relax their bodies and let natural childbirth happen… enter Mindful HypnoBirthing.
More and more women are leaning towards Mindful HypnoBirthing techniques in the lead up to their baby’s birth. The idea is, by preparing ahead of birth, you can elicit a sense of calm in the body during the labour process. Some people even believe this technique even alleviates the pain of birth. It is all about mind over matter.
A little back story
The idea of self-hypnosis has been around for centuries to help deal with the pain of surgeries, but it is only much more recently that this idea has been applied to childbirth. It was in 1989 when Marie Monhan, a highly awarded hypnotherapist, developed the method she named Mindful HypnoBirthing, and techniques have gone on to be developed from there.
So what is Mindful HypnoBirthing?
Essentially, Mindful HypnoBirthing could be described as a method to help woman deal with the anxiety and fear that often occurs on the lead up to birth. Even for women who have been through the experience before, the thought of birth can be scary, and for first time mums, the fear of the unknown can be even worse.
The practise of Mindful HypnoBirthing involves learning and developing relaxation techniques to put in place before and during labour and birth. Through self-meditation, relaxation is the aim of the game, with the ultimate goal of the birth happing more quickly with less pain, as the body is in a more relaxed state.
The techniques aren’t just based on beliefs. Instead, the idea was developed using science and evidence. Think of it as a specific type of antenatal education that will help you feel more confident when it comes to the birth of your child.
The idea is to understand that your body and your mind are connected. If you stop thinking that childbirth is going to be a stressful and painful experience, this could have a physical manifestation.
4D Baby scan centres are also tapping into some Hypnobirthing Methodologies, and will dim the lights, play soothing music, and help relax the expectant Mother. If you wish to learn more about 4D Baby scans, and feel this will be a great compliment to your Hypnobirthing journey, then feel free to Read our Article on 4D scans
Mindful HypnoBirthing Techniques
It may seem incredibly simple, but it is surprising how effective putting in place breathing techniques can be. In a session, you may learn various techniques to control your breathing and help your body develop a relaxed state. There are a few different types of breathing techniques that can be put in place for different stages of labour, these are commonly known as Up Breathing and Down Breathing.
Part of Mindful HypnoBirthing is reframing how you see birth, and that starts with positive affirmations. A simple way is to use positive affirmations is to reinforce the positive sides of birth and your own power to deal with it, such as ‘Birth is powerful, but so am I’. Even replacing words, such as using the word ‘surge’ rather than ‘contraction’ is a technique that is often used, as it allows you to understand that childbirth is a natural process.
A powerful technique is to use guided visualisation. Essentially, using meditation, with aids like music, to imagine calming scenes to help relax your body and mind.
Learning about positive birth experiences
Thousands of mothers go through positive birthing experiences every single day. It can be helpful to learn from other mothers and hear their stories.
Potential benefits of Mindful Hypnobirthing
Everyone has different experiences with hypnobirthing, some people may get a lot from it, while others not so much. For those that use hypnobirthing during labour, potential benefits could include:
Natural pain management
For those that are looking to go through birth without the need for pain relief, hypnobirthing could help. The techniques can help endorphins get released from our bodies, naturally relaxing your muscles. Essentially it can be a medication free form of pain management, meaning no side effects. There are even anecdotal stories of Women who have mastered Hypnobirthing, and been turned away due to the Midwife not believing they are in labour!
Feeling in control
Birth can be a very scary experience, it is a time in life where we are not fully in control of our bodies, or at least it may feel like that. Women who use Mindful HypnoBirthing techniques tend to feel a lot more in control, comfort and a sense of relaxation. A 2015 study have released the results of a study conducted during hundreds of births. The mothers used Mindful HypnoBirthing techniques throughout the labour, with the common theme being pregnant mothers achieving a sense of calmness during birth.
A shorter labour
Studies have shown that hypnobirthing may shorten the first stage of labour. Self-hypnosis during childbirth reduced the amount of drugs needing to be used, which as a result, the duration of the first stage of labour was reduced.
How to get started with Mindful Hypnobirthing
If you are interested in Mindful HypnoBirthing, and feel it is something that might work for you, the first step is speak to your doctor. They will likely be able to give you a referral to a trained practitioner. Another option would be to contact your local hospital for a list of hypnotherapists that specialise in childcare. Once you have found a Mindful HypnoBirthing specialist you would like to go with, it is worth talking to them about your birthing plan so they know you preferences, and work out the best techniques for you.
There is no set time frame for how much training you will need before going into labour. As a general rule, if you are already feeling quite positive about going into labour and giving birth, it won’t take you as long to feel more positive about it, therefore won’t need as much training.
Like with most things in life, where this technique may work well for some women, it may not have any effect for others. It is worth doing some research into the pros and cons before deciding whether to give it a try. We highly recommend This Book for a deep and comprehensive understanding of Hypnobirthing!